The Arizona Cardinals welcomed back fans for Sunday’s home opener against the Minnesota Vikings. Similarly, the fans have given a warm welcome to legal sports betting in the Grand Canyon State.
From pregame tailgating in the parking lot to the final seconds of the game, the excitement around State Farm Stadium was noticeable. Off the heels of an upset win against the Tennesee Titans, the Cardinals headed into the matchup with the Vikings as slight 3.5-point favorites.
What fans got was a wild-west shootout that came down to the final play. Unfortunately for the visitors, though, it was not a successful conclusion. Vikings kicker Greg Joseph missed a 37-yard field goal to give the Cards the 34-33 win.
With most sportsbooks, the Cardinals failed to cover the spread. However, the second weekend of regulated wagering — featuring special prop bets and odds boosts, among many other options — gave Arizonans even more to cheer about.
Cardinals fans take advantage of AZ mobile betting apps
As legal sports betting in Arizona moves into its second full week, sportsbooks are going all-in to get new customers on board. And it has been full speed ahead.
GeoComply, a company that provides geolocation services to sportsbooks, announced that Arizona emerged as a top-five sports betting market during its first weekend of legal event wagering.
That trend continued inside and outside of State Farm Stadium. Both Cardinals and Vikings fans braving the Arizona heat out in the stadium parking lot were enjoying the ability to place wagers on NFL games through any one of the eight AZ mobile betting apps that have launched.
A group composed of fans from both teams even had an iPad hooked up to a speaker watching the game between the New England Patriots and the New York Jets.
I spoke to a man named James, who is a Phoenix native and a die-hard Cardinals fan. He said putting money down on game outcomes and prop bets has made watching football games more exciting.
“It makes it more fun when you have a little skin in the game,” James said. “I never thought I’d find myself rooting for the Seahawks to win a game, but I am today.”
I asked James if he was taking advantage of any specials on the Cardinals-Vikings game. His response:
“You bet your ass I am.”
Legal sports betting on full display in State Farm Stadium
Inside the stadium, the team’s partnership with BetMGM Sportsbook AZ was on full display.
The electronic scoreboards and stat boards consistently featured the operator’s new customer deals and promos during the game. The stadium’s public address announcer also frequently mentioned BetMGM sponsorships during timeouts and brief pauses in the action.
From my vantage point, most fans had their eyes glued to the big plays being made on the field. But there were several highlights from other games to give the crowd an idea of what was happening on their fantasy teams and their bet slips.
BetMGM plans to open a retail sportsbook at State Farm Stadium in time for the 2022 NFL season. That will no doubt add to the already heightened awareness of regulated wagering in the state — and at Cardinals games.
Arizona bettors cash in on no-brainer Cardinals-Vikings wagers
This past week, Arizonans were not only encouraged to bet on the Cardinals’ home opener against the Vikings but also to get their friends to bet on the game.
Arizona bettors got their first taste of the popular “Spread the Love” promo from FanDuel Arizona leading up to the game. The promotion offers both new and current sportsbook players the chance to come together and push the point spread to “can’t-lose levels.” For every 250 players that backed the Cardinals to cover, FanDuel moved the spread one point in favor of bettors.
When kickoff time rolled around, the final spread was Cardinals +140.5. What does that mean? Well, the only way Cardinals bettors would have lost was if the team fell to Minnesota by at least 141 points.
Meanwhile, DraftKings’ Arizona sportsbook ran a “no-brainer” promo of its own. Bettors could wager at +100 odds that either team would score at least one point in the game. At the same time, Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray was the star of several odds boosts by some sportsbooks. Including WynnBet Sportsbook AZ, which boosted a prop bet on Murray to score or throw a TD to +100. Murray accomplished that feat in the first quarter when he found DeAndre Hopkins in the end zone.
What’s more, Caesars Sportsbook Arizona ran a super boost on Kyler throwing at least two touchdown passes. Coming through, Murray crossed off that task in video game-like spectacular fashion with a 77-yard bomb to rookie wide receiver Rondale Moore.
Now, the Arizona Cardinals are 2-0 on the young season. And new Arizona betters in the Red Sea should expect more betting opportunities. Especially as Murray continues his MVP-caliber play.